VOX report on the effects of budget reviews
15th December 2011
A recent report highlights the negative impact that budget reviews have on people with long-term mental health problems in Scotland.
“Real People Real Cuts” was commissioned by VOX with support from a range of service user representative organisations, including HUG, Bipolar Scotland, ACUMEN, Stirling Users Network, Scotia Clubhouse, Mental Health Network (Greater Glasgow), and Peer Support Fife.
Written by Chris White, it sets out the findings from a survey and focus groups held with people who described themselves as having a long-term mental health condition or as a carer (or both).
The report states that public sector spending cuts have led to a loss or reduction of services delivered by the NHS, local authorities and the voluntary sector, which has in turn clearly impacted negatively on the quality of life, access to support, services and opportunities for people with mental health conditions in Scotland. Specific areas of concern are:
- Loss of care and support services.
- Reduced access to employment and training opportunities.
- Reduced social and cultural activities.
- Loss of essential public transport services.
- Increased financial pressures and hardship.
It concludes that despite the apparent policy commitment on the part of the Scottish Government to create a “joined-up systematic approach to delivering mental health services and support across Scotland”, the reality is that the loss or reduction of services will lead to “a significant negative impact on the nation’s mental health, creating greater inequalities and disadvantage rather than a more equitable society.”
Taking note of the UK’s international obligations under the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and of local authorities under the Mental Health (Care and Treatment) (Scotland) Act, the report makes several recommendations, including:
- The Scottish Government should urgently measure the impact of spending reviews on mental health services in Scotland and address the lack of guidance to local authorities under the Mental Health (Care and Treatment) (Scotland) Act as part of its current mental health strategy consultation.
- Local authorities should fulfil their duty under the Act by providing educational, training and employability services and employment opportunities; and ensure adequate provision of transport to enable people with mental health problems to access service.
For more information, contact VOX on 0141 572 1663 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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